If there's anything we can count on the closer Oscars season gets, it's a beautiful, old-school Hollywood style film. Amazon's Sylvie's Love is set in 1957, wrapped in stunning period costumes and soulful jazz music. At the center of the story is Sylvie Parker, played by Tessa Thompson, and musician Robert Halloway, played by Nnamdi Asomugha. But is Robert based on a real person?
The director of 'Sylvie's Love' took inspiration from his own family.
Director Eugene Ashe clearly had several ideas in mind when sculpting Sylvie's Love. He first looked to photographs of his own family from the 1950s and how happy they were for inspiration. Eugene noted that despite his relatives living in a tumultuous political time, they carried themselves with love and dignity. This further inspired him to create a film without the political lens Hollywood leans into around the Civil Rights Era.
This is not to say in Sylvie's Love that history has been disrupted, but rather, the focus is on the happiness and slice-of-life journey of Black people rather than their trials and tribulations. In an interview with Afropunk, Eugene says, "I really loved that era, even Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X found the time to get married and have babies, you know? But the only time [Black people] are depicted in that era it is always about the Civil Rights Movement."
What does this mean for Robert and Sylvie's characters? Despite their extremely realistic and relatable love story, unfortunately, there is no evidence the pair are anything but entirely fictitious. The craftsmanship and layers that go into their characters makes them feel like they could be all too real, which speaks volumes to the talented writing team's hard work.
What is 'Sylvie's Love' about?
The dreamy narrative of Sylvie's Love follows Sylvie, a New Yorker who works in her father's record store while she waits for her fiancé Lacy (played by Alano Miller) to return from war. She spends her days laughing and lounging with best friend Mona (How To Get Away With Murder's Aja Naomi King) until one fateful summer when jazz-star-to-be Roger Halloway waltzes into her life.
Roger takes a part-time job at the record store, and the rest of the film follows the pair down a dizzyingly wondrous love affair. The story expands several years, encapsulating Roger's fast-growing career as a musician and Sylvie's own career climbing through the ranks to become a television network producer. There are no spoilers here, but it suffices to say that the way the couple blooms over time is sure to keep the audience entertained.
Sylvie's Love accomplishes everything Eugene set out to do and more. The superstar power of Tessa and Nnamdi as Sylvie and Roger is sure to grab attention (hopefully at the upcoming Golden Globes?) and the feel-good heart of the movie is just what the doctor ordered. You can now stream Sylvie's Love exclusively on Amazon.